UK readers will have noticed a juror in England has been in trouble for exchanging messages on Facebook with a defendant in a criminal trial.

Hot on the heels of this news comes a timely piece from BBC journalist Marie Jackson – Facebook: Five things to avoid.

Her list includes

  • Don’t make friends with people you shouldn’t
  • Don’t moan about your boss/customers/constituents
  • Don’t upload dodgy photos
  • Don’t enjoy your sick leave too much
  • Don’t spill secrets.

Quite a proportion of her examples involve the public sector one way or another – not only the criminal trial mentioned above but a prison officer, politicians of all main UK parties, the head of MI6, and members of the armed forces.

Of course, indiscretion is nothing new.  I remember in my youth being gently chided by the director of the local authority department I worked in for some unkind reference to management in a union newsletter I edited, forgetting that senior managers were members of the same union.  Indeed they might share my concerns and it didn’t help if I implied they had the leadership qualities of Genghis Khan.  It was all the more embarrassing because in truth they didn’t and I had meant to sound off about some national pay issue.

I hope I learnt from that episode.  Unfortunately, the forum for learning from indiscretions these days is not a cosy one-to-one with an older and wiser colleague but the worldwide exposure of the web, enhanced by instant media interest.

A few weeks into this blog and I’ve been amazed at the proportion of traffic it’s driving to the HelpGov Ltd web site – so thanks for clicking through folks.

 The virtuous circle of communication has driven me to issue my first Helpgov Newsletter. It’s virtual (fancy way of saying no paper copies) so as well as readable on screen it also avoids recycling.  You can find it here.

It’s a bit more formal than this blog and does six things. It: 

  • introduces HelpGov to anyone who hasn’t come across us yet
  • says how we can help our public sector clients
  • describes our approach to work
  • gives a flavour of what we’re up to
  • tells readers about this blog (as if you needed that…)
  • and gives them a tip about online business networking.

Read, enjoy and do let me know what you think.